GO WITH YOUR GUT: 2008, AGE 56  

Sep 15, 2008 | Age: 56

Remember that old cliche..life begins at 40- CA125 Kit Tests.

Well, my life of HPV Cancer Testing began at 52, when I met my wonderful husband and moved to England. Life in London differed greatly from NYC, but I adapted. Fast forward 4 years and 40 lbs, and I began to feel unwell. I went to my HPV Specialist GP and gave my symptoms: frequent urination, night sweats, a cough that wouldn’t go away and my abdomen seemed to be swelling. Without even poking or prodding me, she proclaimed I probably had a bladder infection and if I lost weight, my frequent peeing would more than likely stop. I went back and forth to this doctor for three months and didn’t get any better. I finally decided to get a CA125 Cancer blood test when my back started to hurt, which was also attributed to my weight gain.

So I took yet more antibiotics, went for a chest x-ray (which showed clear) and became more and more tired.  I made yet another  CA125 appointment, but to my great luck, my original GP wasn’t there that day. I saw one of her colleagues. This woman doctor carefully read my notes and noticed my family history of cancer. She listened to my chest and thumped on my abdomen; she gave me a form for a sonogram and some bloodwork. Now, most people complain about how slow the NHS is. I had no problem. A sonogram and bloodwork was done the next day. The results came back. The sonogram showed “something” in my pelvic area.

Hope

I knew then, and there it was from an HPV Test. I got an appointment for a further CA125 Marker Test with the local oncology clinic within a week. My oncologist, a brilliant woman, was kind and compassionate. She explained that my mass was over 16 centimetres wide, and she was 99% sure it was malignant. She introduced me to my surgeon, my brilliant Mr J. He explained that my tumour markers were above 1900 with the normal range between 0-30. He recommended 4-6 rounds of chemo, then, if able, debulking surgery. I trusted my team from the start. I was admitted to the hospital and drained of more than 12 litres of fluid. Two weeks later, I had my first round of chemo. The first time out the gate, the tumour markers dropped to 800.

I’ll tell you this: all the time I battled to defeat my cancer, I was never afraid. I prayed to God and the Lady of Lourdes for my recovery. My surgery went textbook perfect. My tumour markers dropped to 17; they are now at 4. I still tire easily and can catch a cold at the drop of a hat, but in time, this will pass. My oncologist said it is my sense of humour that saves me. I trust my health team and have faith in my God.

Final message

So ladies, when your doctor fobs you off with a diagnosis of bowel trouble, stomach trouble, or some vague woman trouble, you stand up for yourself and demand a blood test that includes the CA125 Antigen Tumour Marker Test!!!! Make sure your concerns are addressed regardless of your weight.

I hope you are all blessed with such a compassionate, brilliant team as I was. Don’t forget to pray to the Lady of Lourdes. She helps everyone.

LINDA: 2008, AGE 46  

Oct 20, 2008 | Age: 46

I began my journey in December of 2007. I had a slight pain when I urinated and threw up four times in a row without some explanation. Fatigue was a problem, but I thought it was because I had to urinate but with urgency. At that point, I thought I had ovarian cancer; don’t ask me; I just had that feeling. Having said all that, I visited my HPV lab Test doctor on Jan 4. The doctor told me I needed an ultrasound chest x-ray and a ca125 blood test, which was 250. I was then a candidate for a robotic surgery where a surgeon could see everything in 3D so he could scan all my organs.

On Feb 7, I was diagnosed with stage 2b grade 3 ovarian cancer. No abdominal fluid got to my omentum liver or lungs. I was very lucky and underwent six rounds of chemo, which was four months ago, and my ca-125 is holding at a 9, and I am doing fine. Don’t have to go back to my doctor for another four months. The doctor said I would either get it again or not; some days, I live on eggshells. I do carry the brac1 gene, so I will have a double mastectomy in two years to prevent breast cancer.

After an HPV DNA test, further exams led to My sister being diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer and will also do chemo. My other sister died of breast cancer 9 years ago at the age of 45, while my mom died of ovarian cancer 35 years ago when I was only 11 years old.